(The Cure For) Fiction Deficiency Syndrome

I’ve been reading stories from the Golden Age of science fiction (most recently “Tunesmith” by Lloyd Biggle, Jr.), and it is like being hooked up to an IV.

Have you ever been pretty dehydrated and then gotten an IV? A few hours after I gave birth to my first child, I passed out. The doctors said I was dehydrated, and they gave me an IV. I had been feeling perfectly fine: tired, sure, and maybe a little thirsty. But after they pumped a liter of saline solution into my body, I realized that what I had judged as “fine” was actually pretty bad. Like, wrung-out rag, crawling through the desert bad. But I hadn’t noticed. That’s what Fiction Deficiency Syndrome is like.

You know what else it’s like? It’s like being locked in a windowless room by yourself for days or weeks, and it feels perfectly normal. But then when you read, it’s like suddenly a good friend shows up, and they bring a picnic and take you out in the sun. You spread a blanket under the trees and talk and eat, and maybe a couple of other friends show up, and their kids play in the background, and you lean against somebody’s chest and breathe in the sweet air, and you realize that this is what life is, not the windowless room.

So here I am, lying around under the trees with Llyod Biggle, Jr. and Poul Anderson (“Call Me Joe”), and I can see Theodore Sturgeon walking toward us and waving, because I have an anthology.

There’s plenty of room on this blanket, and we’ve still got almost a gallon of lemonade.

Why don’t you come join us?

One thought on “(The Cure For) Fiction Deficiency Syndrome

  1. I know this feeling. Your line “because I have an anthology” made me laugh. Geez, just talking to you today (and reading this) is inspirational. I will have regular check-ups to make sure I’m not suffering from fiction deficiency syndrome without knowing it. Devouring the Monstrumologist series by Rick Yancey once saved me from F. D. S., and I hadn’t known how hungry I was until I discovered those books. Metaphorically, I will take you up on that offer of a glass of lemonade. Thank you!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *